Utter French!

French Phrases: Chemistry terms

This page gives a few basic French chemistry terms, covering words for basic chemistry concepts and types of chemicals, plus the French names of various common chemical elements.

Basic chemistry concepts

Here are some French terms for basic chemistry concepts such as atom, molecule, bond etc.

la chimie-chemistry
un élément-an element
un ion-an ion
un cation-a cation, positive ion
un anion-an anion, negative ion
une charge positive/négative-a positive/negative charge
une liaison (chimique)-a (chemical) bond
une liaison ionique-an ionic bond
une liaison covalente-a covalent bond
une liaison métallique-a metallic bond
un composé-a compound
une molécule-a molecule
le noyau-the nucleus
la couche électronique-the electron shell
la couche périphérique-the outer shell
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Names of some common elements

The list below gives the French names of some of the more commonly known or used chemical elements. In general, the more recently discovered the element, the less likely it is to have a different name in French (and other languages) compared to English. Also included in the list below are one or two tricky names even if the element isn't that commonly used. In fact, practically all elements not mentioned in the list below have identical names in French (save for the occasional accent in French).

le bore-boron
le brome-bromium
le carbone-carbon
le chlore-chlorine
le cuivre-copper
le fer-iron
le fluor-fluorine
le lithium-lithium
le magnésium-magnesium
le manganèse-manganese
le mercure-mercury
le néon-neon
le phosphore-phosphorus
le platine-platinum
le plomb-lead
le potassium-potassium
le sodium-sodium
le soufre-sulphur, sulfur (US)
le tantale-tantalum
le zinc-zinc
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What out for carbone, which is the French for carbon, and charbon, which is the French for coal!

The pronunciation of the word zinc is also tricky: in French, it is pronounced as through written zin-g.

Types of elements and compounds

un acide-an acid
un alcane-an alkane
un alcène-an alkene
un alcyne-an alkyne
un aldéhyde-an aldehyde
une amine-an amine
une base-a base
une cétone-a ketone
les éléments de transition-the transition elements
un ester-an ester
un halogène-a halogen
un hydrocarbure-a hydrocarbon
un métal-a metal
un monomère-a monomer
un polymère-a polymer
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Page written by Neil Coffey. Copyright (c) Javamex UK 2014. All rights reserved.